The LMS Turbomotive - From Evolution to Legacy
The last generation of steam-powered locomotives are often viewed as antiquated throw-backs to the Victorian era, which stayed in service well beyond their useful lives. In-fact, even in the twilight of the steam age, Britain was at the forefront of developing a new generation of steam power which could have changed the face of the railways. William Stanier is known for revolutionising steam locomotive practice on the LMS, creating a modern locomotive fleet. He also explored the possibilities for next generation motive power to produce unquestionably Britain's most successful experimental locomotive of the 20th Century - the 'Turbomotive'. It was the Ljungström brothers in Sweden who developed the non-condensing steam turbine locomotive for heavy freight work and in 1935 Stanier applied this design in a turbine variant of his famous 'Princess Royals'. The Turbomotive's performance was such that it even had significant impact in the United States where the Baldwin Company used its core principles in a mighty turbine 6-8-6 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. This machine was arguably the most successful to use steam turbine power to explore the very limits of what was possible with a single large locomotive. Back in England, the Turbomotive continued in service into British Railways' days, until in 1952 it was converted into a conventional machine, making it the country's most powerful express passenger locomotive of the day. The irony is that its potential in that form was never to be realised as soon after re-entering service, the Turbomotive was destroyed in the Harrow & Wealdstone disaster. The remarkable story of the Turbomotive is told here for the first time in book form, illustrated throughout with rare photographs and drawings. It is a fitting tribute to a unique, but ultimately ill-fated, locomotive from the pinnacle of the steam age.